Israel should be taken to international criminal court over recent massacre: Turkish foreign minister

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Israel should be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the recent massacre committed by Israeli security forces against Palestinians, just like any crime against humanity, Turkey’s top diplomat said, adding that Turkey has been providing all legal assistance to the state of Palestine to this end.

“Israel should be taken to the International Criminal Court [over the killing of Palestinians]. Since third parties cannot do it, Palestine needs to initiate this,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said in an interview with state broadcaster TRT on May 17. The foreign minister referred to the killing of more than 60 Palestinians and wounding of more than 2,000 at the hands of the Israeli security forces on May 14 during protests against the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem.

“We are analyzing what kind of legal steps can be taken [against Israel],” he said, recalling Turkey’s legal assistance to relevant Palestinian authorities in this regard.

“Israel should account for its actions,” said Çavuşoğlu.

The minister recalled that the United Nations Human Rights Committee would hold a meeting in Geneva on May 18 to make a decision regarding an investigation of the Israeli attacks on civilians on May 14.

“This crime against humanity should be probed by an independent commission and Israel should account for its actions before the law,” he said.

The meetings of the Arab League on May 17 and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on May 18 constitute important venues to deliver strong messages against the U.S. and Israel, Çavuşoğlu stressed.

“We cannot only be content with such decisions. Our next step will be to take this issue to the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. General Assembly,” he said.

“We should be able to issue a decision from there,” he said, recalling the December voting at the General Assembly that overwhelmingly denounced the U.S. decision to relocate its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israeli envoy after ‘cheap’ game

Israel criticized the strict security procedures imposed on the Israeli Ambassador to Ankara Eitan Na’eh at the Istanbul Airport while he left Turkey at the demand of the Foreign Ministry. In response to Israel’s criticisms, Çavuşoğlu informed that the envoy could have used the airport’s VIP service by covering the costs.

“He deliberately wanted to board the plane from the international departures hall in order to give the impression that he was mistreated,” he said. Çavuşoğlu also slammed the envoy for tweeting a provocative message on May 14.

Israel disallows transfer of wounded

Çavuşoğlu also underlined that Turkey has already completed all of its preparations for the evacuation of the wounded Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to Turkey for treatment but Israel has not issued the necessary permission.

“There is a government that is far distant from human values,” he said. If Israel would permit, the wounded would either be treated in Egypt or in Turkey, Çavuşoğlu said, stressing that Turkey is also in contact with the relevant U.N. bodies on this issue.

Around 2,500 Palestinians were wounded while around 60 were killed by Israeli security forces in protests on May 14.

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